Bok Choy Recipe
In this Bok Choy recipe, you’ll learn how a stir-frying trick to cook bok choy perfectly, with amazing garlic flavor (without burning the garlic in the wok). We’ll show you step by step.
I’m going to tell you to do something that is totally contrary to many Asian cookbooks out there.
Cold Wokky, Very Garlickky.
The problem with using a very hot wok or frying pan to stir fry with minced garlic and ginger is that you’ll probably burn it. Burnt garlic and ginger is bitter and astringent. Bitter can be good sometimes – I LOVE bitter. But when you’re going for a more delicate flavor, especially in a bok choy dish, you might not want bitter.
When I’m stir-frying vegetables, like in this bok choy recipe, I add the minced garlic and ginger to COLD oil and COLD wok or pan. As the wok and oil heat up, the ginger and garlic gently sizzles. The longer the aromatics stay in contact with the oil (without burning) – the more flavor gets infused into the oil. So, now you’ve got a tablespoon of that an incredible garlicky, gingery oil. Toss the bok choy leaves in that oil, so that each leaf of the bok choy is bathed in heavenly flavor.
How to cook bok choy recipe
Start by trimming the bok choy stem off – don’t trim too much – just the end. Cutting the thick stem off will ensure that the bok choy cooks evenly. Separate out the bok choy leaves and rinse under running water.
But leave the tender baby that’s in the middle of each bok choy! That’s the golden nugget!
Finely mince garlic and grate fresh ginger with a microplane grater. Grating the ginger helps break up the tough fibers! (and yeah, sometimes when the ginger is nice and fresh, I don’t even bother peeling off the paper-thin skin)
Place wok or frying pan on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil. When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the bok choy leaves. Toss to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil.
I really mean it! Toss, baby, toss! Stir! Faster! You only have like 15 seconds of tossing time! I am super wok-stirring queen!
Pour in liquid (you can use broth, water or a combination of broth/water + Chinese cooking wine) Immediately cover and let cook for 1 minute. The liquid will now steam the bok choy. After steaming, season with soy sauce or salt and drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top to finish.
That’s it! I hope you try this method – it works for any type of vegetable, like Napa cabbage or broccoli. For thicker vegetables (like broccoli), increase the steaming time by another minute and maybe add a bit more liquid.
Why do I use tongs to cook bok choy?
Why tongs instead of a standard wok chan (spatula)? Because it’s easier to use the tongs to toss, flip and turn when dealing with delicate vegetables.
More Chinese recipes to explore
Chinese Spinach (Yu Choy) Recipe with Toasted Garlic (Steamy Kitchen)
Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (Steamy Kitchen)
Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce (Steamy Kitchen)
Chinese Greens (Yu Choy) Stir Fry (Steamy Kitchen)
- 1 1/2 pounds bok choy or baby bok choy
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil canola, vegetable or peanut oil
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons water or any liquid combination of broth, water, cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Start by trimming the stem off - don't trim too much - just the end. Cutting the thick stem off will ensure that the bok choy cooks evenly. Separate out the leaves, keep the tender center intact. Wash and clean bok choy.
Finely mince garlic. Grate fresh ginger with a microplane grater. Grating the ginger helps break up the tough fibers.
Place wok or saute pan on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil. When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the bok choy leaves. Toss very well to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil for 15 seconds. Pour in broth, water or wine. Immediately cover and let cook for 1 minute. Season with soy sauce and drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top.